After a successful six-month trial, Worthington might have a permanent bike-sharing service.
Darren Hurley, director of parks and recreation for the city, said the trial run with Lime started in May and ended in November, with mostly positive feedback from residents.
Lime, formerly known as LimeBike, is a bike, e-bike and e-scooter-sharing service based in California that functions through an app, which tracks the equipment through GPS.
Users can see locations of nearby bicycles and then can check in to a bike to unlock it and pay $1 for 30 minutes of use.
In terms of permanent adoption, Hurley said, city officials are gathering information on the trial run to present to the bicycle and pedestrian advisory board. He said the board would decide whether or not the community should have it and make a recommendation to Worthington City Council.
"We're trying to first understand what's working and not working," he said.
He said City Council ultimately would vote on the measure, and Lime would work with the city to establish an agreement for operation.
Todd O'Boyle, director of strategic development for Lime, said company leaders were optimistic about growth in the Worthington market.
"Lime and Worthington partnered to provide residents access to bikes on a test basis," O'Boyle said. "Based on the post-pilot data, demand in Worthington was limited.
"We are confident, however, that as micro-mobility popularity continues to grow, we will continue to see greater demand and will be able to continue discussions on how to partner on a more long-term basis."
According to data provided by Lime from Worthington's trial, 1,053 riders took 1,794 total trips from June through November, Hurley said. The median distance of each trip was 0.7 mile, he said.
Hurley said an agreement between the city and Lime would contain such features as public right of way for the bicycles, whether the city could have multiple bike-sharing providers, how often the company would retrieve bikes and the location of zones where the bikes would be parked. He previously said any bike-sharing service that came to the city would require an agreement approved by City Council, largely because of how often the bikes are in the public right of way and on city-owned property.
Gary Schmidt, chairman of the bicycle and pedestrian advisory board, said the trial in Worthington went well from the board's perspective, and board members have received mostly positive feedback from residents.
"I don't think there's been a lot of negatives," he said.
Schmidt said he noticed use of the bikes in Worthington was geared toward visitors or those who wanted to use them for leisurely rides.
He also said Worthington is a little on the small side for multiple companies to offer the service.
City Council had voted in March to allow City Manager Matt Greeson to initiate the trial in May.
The trial did not cost the city anything. Greeson previously said Lime is backed by "venture capital," which allows the company to set up its infrastructure without requiring funds from the city.
Hurley said it is too early to know when the final decision would be made, but he expects more information, including the ride data from Lime, would be presented to the bicycle and pedestrian advisory board at scheduled meetings Jan. 28 and Feb. 25.
He said it is possible the board might have "some sort of recommendation" after the February meeting.